• Freddie Brock

Fordney Foundation Interviews Pre-Teen Winners/Parents at Emerald Ball


Valerie Snitko, Kirill Zakiryanov at Emerald Ball, 5-6-18, Google Photos

We thought it was a good idea to ask some of our winners and their parents too, to speak with us, so you can see what it is like and what it takes for families to be involved in Ballroom/Dancesport competition life and learn from their experiences. We interviewed Valerie Snitko, her parents, and her dance partner, Kirill Zakirzyanov, and his parents, who all happen to be part of and work with Brilliant DanceSport Studio in Warminster, PA.

These two young people were exceptional dancers and showed their skill well on the dance floor. They won awards from the Fordney Foundation to prove it! It will be interesting for you to see how it compares with what you are doing and going through for both you and your parents in your dancesport, competitive life.

Here is our interview with Valerie Snitko and then both of her parents, Stella and Andrei Snitko:

Freddie Brock: What is your name?

Valerie Snitko: Valerie

FB: How old are you?

VS: 8 years old

FB: What category are you in?

VS: Pre-teen, Latin, and Ballroom

FB: At what age did you start dancing?

VS: Four years old

FB: How much training went into you being able to perform at the Emerald Ball?

VS: I train 5 to 6 times a week, 3 – 4 hours each day

FB: What’s one thing you want people to know about you?

VS: My personality

FB: Can you share with our readers and young dancers, the one thing they would want to know, to be where you are today, performing at the Emerald Ball?

VS: To be confident and passionate and to go out there and be themselves. Try their personal best, it is not the best if you lose, but just believe that you will win next time!

FB: What is the role Brilliant Dancesport Studio has had in your dancing career and future development?

VS: Brilliant Dancesport Studio is a great studio, it becomes better and better each year and it becomes more popular each year.


Kirill, Valerie @ Emerald Ball, Photo by Alex Havasi

Parents of Valerie Snitko:


Freddie Brock: What is your name?


Stella and Andrei Snitko: Stella and Andrei Snitko


FB: What category is Valerie in?


S&AS: Valerie is in Pre-teen Latin and Ballroom


FB: Are both you and your child looking forward to a professional career in dance? What steps do you take to accomplish this goal?


S&SAS: We are not thinking about a professional career yet since Valerie is still too young. But we are very serious and competitive and have very aggressive goals. We practice in our studio 5-6 times a week and attend workshops and seminars with famous coaches and professionals invited to our studio or run by other studios in the area. In addition to dancing, we also take classes in stretching and gymnastics, as well as physical conditioning that are offered in our studio for competitive dancers to ensure we build enough stamina and are able to physically handle competitions like Emerald Ball, where we had quarterfinals in each category and were dancing with short breaks from 2 PM – 9 PM.


FB: As a parent, what are some of the challenges of getting ready for a performance at the Emerald Ball?


S&SAS: One of the challenges for us was that it’s out of town. We flew in on Saturday morning from Philadelphia and had to scramble to make the plane back to Philadelphia on Sunday at 10:45 PM after we were done dancing. We were trying to plan it so the kids don’t miss school. Outside of the organizational stuff, it was an amazing experience for kids, they made new friends, and competed on the floor they have never competed on before and loved every minute of it!


FB: As a parent, is there anything you can share with our dancers, parents, and readers that would inspire them on their dance journey in hopes that they could one day perform at the Emerald Ball?


S&SAS: I think just going to Emerald Ball is an inspiration on its own. It’s the most prestigious competition in the U.S. For us, the inspiration came from seeing all the wonderful couples we met at Utah NDCA Nationals in March. Ever since we saw the quality of dancing from our competitors, we were inspired to work hard and practice more to then go and compete with them again at Emerald Ball.


FB: What role has Brilliant Studio had in your child’s dancing career and future development?


S&SAS: Brilliant DanceSport Studio is nothing short of the second home for Valerie. She spends most of her time there, 5-6 times a week, 3-4 hours each day. She has her friends there, and her coaches are her dance parents, ever since she was 4 years old. This is a safe environment that provides care and at the same time rigorous training. This studio teaches important life values, on how to be competitive but respectful, on how to handle winning and losing, how to work hard and be companionate towards your partner and your teammates.


Here are the combined awards Valerie and her partner Kirill Zakirzyanov (who we will also interview) won at the Emerald Ball:


2ndin PT1 3-dance Latin Championship

1stin PT1 4-dance Fordney Foundation Latin Championship

1st in PT1 3-dance Ballroom Championship

3rd in PT1 4-dance Fordney Foundation Ballroom Championship


Valerie, Kirill @ Emerald Ball 5-6-18, by Google Photos


Now we will interview Valerie’s partner, Kirill Zakirzyanov and then his parents:

Freddie Brock: What is your name?

Kirill Zakirzyanov: Kirill Zakirzyanov

FB: How old are you?

KZ: 9 Years Old


FB: What category are you in?

KZ: Pre-teen Latin and Ballroom

At what age did you start dancing and what made you want to dance?

KZ: I was 6 years old. I looked at my older brother dancing and wanted to be the same good dancer.

FB: How much training went into you being able to perform at the Emerald Ball?

KZ: I practice 5-6 times a week, 3-4 hours a day

FB: What’s one thing you want people to know about you?

KZ: That I am a good friend and I am really reliable.

FB: Can you share with our readers and young dancers, the one thing they would want to know, to be where you are today, performing at the Emerald Ball?

KZ: To train until you can’t train anymore and to practice usefully, not just running through rounds but to practice what your trainer tells you.

FB: What role has Brilliant Danceport Studio had in your dancing careers and future development so far?

KZ: Brilliant Dancesport Studio has provided me and my partner, a huge floor with many great coaches to teach me how to move.


Valerie, Kirill @ Emerald Ball 5-6-18, by Google Photos


Parents of Kirill Zakirzyanov:

Freddie Brock: What is your name?

Svetlana and Oleg Zakirzyanov: Svetlana and Oleg Zakirzyanov

What category is Kirill in?


S&OZ: Kirill is in Pre-Teen Latin and Standard


FB: How long has Kirill been dancing?


S&OZ: Krill has been dancing for 3 years


FB: Are both you and Kirill looking forward to a professional career in dance? What steps do you take to accomplish this goal?


S&OZ: We are not sure yet whether we want a professional career or not for Krill, due to his age. Daniel, Krill’s older brother, also coaches Kirill very frequently and dedicates huge portions of his time and energy to Kirill and his own successes. Both Kirill and Daniel frequent classes with internationally accomplished professionals and coaches. Most recently Kirill participated in Igor Litvinov’s workshop and had a lesson with him. Daniel and Kirill also work with a gymnast that stretches their bodies as well as a stamina trainer in the studio.


FB: As a parent what are some of the challenges of getting ready for a performance at the Emerald Ball?


S&OZ: After many, many preparations for many, many different competitions locally, nationally, and internationally, we have become accustomed to it. But no matter how many times we go, we still struggle to time our flights in with school and competition times. Since competitions may be an hour off schedule and school becomes more and more demanding, it is a struggle to fit in the travel times with day to day routines.


FB: As a parent, is there anything you can share with our readers that would inspire them on their dance journey in hopes that they could one day perform at the Emerald Ball?:


S&OZ: As a parent, you must be prepared for sleepless nights, for tired kids, and for constant jet lag. If you want your child to succeed then you must give your child the support they need. You need to keep pushing them, yet making them feel as though they are making progress. You must be involved in the lessons, in your child’s practice wear, their hydration, mental and physical health, in your child’s competition costumes, etc. Even through all of this, there are struggles and hardships. It is all worth it though, to see your child dance their heart out and see them smile with pride when they succeed!


FB: Tell us the role Brilliant DanceSport Studio has had in your children’s dancing careers and future development?


S&OZ: Brilliant has provided a space for Daniel and Kirill to flourish. They recognize Brilliant as their second home. Kirill has learned quite a lot things besides his dancing. The kids have made lifelong friendships, have become active members of their community, and are always willing to go the extra mile to accomplish their goals. We are forever grateful that Brilliant is able to provide us with such an amazing space full of amazing people!



Hope you enjoyed this ” family interview” experience and come away with just a little bit more knowledge and understanding of “what it takes” to be a dancer in the competition world and even more, “what it takes to be a winner on the dance floor,” which is really what it’s all about?


Thought Of The Week:


If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done before – Thomas Jefferson

Fordney Foundation

Email: fordneyfoundation@gmail.com

Phone: 818-532-7341

Address: 5739 Kanan Road, #206
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
 

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